Vintage Pound Store Transport and Plastic Space Warriors

Vintage transport for equally vintage Airfix WW1 20mm figures …works well with 15mm

Cross posted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog, some more great little vintage plastic tat

and in a back garden galaxy far far away

Tim Mee Galaxy Laser Team Space Patrol

Plastic joy! (In part, thanks to the Duke of Tradgardland).

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 29 March 2019.

Peter Laing 15mm and Airfix 54mm German Paratroops

Close up on the baggy, chunky but slight detail on Peter Laing 15mm WW2 German Infantry that could be dual use for paratroops.

I am currently painting up some 15mm Peter Laing WW2 German Infantry into dual 1940/41 use as German paratroops.

Batch painting underway on these Peter Laing 15mm German Infantry / paratroops.

The beauty of these first 15mm figures is that Peter Laing deliberately made them with slight and muted detail so that they could be easily converted by paint or file to other figures. These will be gloss paint or gloss varnish when finished.

“Detail is kept muted so there is no overscale effect … detail in the figure depends on the amount that is put in the painting ”  – Peter Laing catalogue introduction

These 15mm WW2 German rifleman infantry figures have a bagginess of trouser about them that suits paratroop jump suits.  Rifles were also quite widespread issue to paratroops, not all were carrying submachine guns.

A quick uniform check out of the ‘best’ uniform book of my childhood (Preben Kannik’s Military Uniforms of the World in Colour) shows that such grey dual use figures are possible.

This is what I still think 1940 Germans in WW2 look  like … thanks to Preben Kannik.

The Andrew Mollo Uniforms of WW2 book (1970s Blandford), familiar from the childhood branch library, had these slightly grainier, grittier, more photo-realist illustrations.

Home Guard manuals of the time in my collection had interesting uniform plates – this book by John Brophy 1940.

Home Guard manual by John Brophy c. 1940 – uniform plate. “The author of this handbook has a ‘hunch’ that adolescent enemy agents may be dropped in the uniforms of Boy Scouts or Sea Scouts”
German Parachutists as shown on WW2 British Ministry of Information posters c. 1940/41 – note the camouflaged helmet cover.

This interesting ‘spot on sight’ enemy uniforms poster No. 1 shows a camo helmet cover, otherwise a grey uniform, worth bearing in mind when painting. This poster can be found at:

I’m not sure I fancy painting 15mm camouflage jackets or helmets in such detail as below on my Airfix figures or as Tim did in his excellent Tim’s Tanks Peter Laing 15mm WW2 Blog post.

My previous paratroop camo painting experience was on a much bigger scale, about thirty plus years ago, tackling the camo from the Airfix packaging onto their then-newish 54mm German paratroop figures.

I have recently rebased, renovated and gloss varnished these 1980s Airfix paint jobs for new use.

A bit bashed, rebased but still looking good …

I first painted these German Airfix Paratrooper figures in the early 1980s and they have hung around since then, getting increasingly bashed. I kept them as I quite liked the camouflage effects I achieved then with Airfix / Humbrol enamels.

I must have been following the Airfix painting guide on the box backs or catalogues a5 the time, so checked this online.


As originally painted (in Matt?) I wanted to get a little of the old gloss toy soldier style at a time when I had no lead hollowcast painted 54mm figures to base them on. I must have been reading old toy soldier books in the library.

Three things were needed to  refresh them for modern 54mm Skirmish gaming use.

1. A quick spruce up of the faces in old toy soldier style (pink cheek dots, the lot) matches the original old toy soldier style paint from the 1980s.

2. I have rebased them on tuppenny bases to add some weight.

3. A coat of (gloss acrylic) spray varnish to seal them for play.



I have a few more unpainted ones lying around from job lots that I hope to paint in a similar toy soldier gloss style to match these figures. Then off to the “Operation Back  Garden or Garten” this summer using Don’s parachute “confetti” paper shapes tipped out of a box or toy plane method of simulating airdrops?

My local childhood branch library copy of Wargaming Airborne Operations … now mine!

My reference book for such past figure games was the curiously patchy 1977 Wargaming Airborne Operations by Donald Featherstone, still available in reprint from the History of Wargaming Project.

Now I need to finish these Laing paratroop figures and get working on the Home Guard rifle platoon to see them off …

Remember – be on your guard – “adolescent enemy agents may be dropped in the uniforms of Boy Scouts or Sea Scouts.”


Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on the 24th March  2019.

If in doubt, undercoat! Peter Laings on the painting table

Peter Laing 15mms on the painting table

In gaming, if you’re not sure what to do, it’s generally wise to make a rule  and roll a dice.

Equally some wise advice I remember from someone’s ‘black dog’  post – if you’re not sure what to do next, undercoat stuff.

I’m busy undercoating Peter Laing 15mms today. I was reminded that I had not painted or posted about Peter Laing figures for a while by the imminent closing of the Peter Laing Community pages on Google Plus and many people’s migration to the social media platform Me We. You can find like-minded Laing enthusiasts  on the Peter Laing section set up by Ian Dury:


Eagle eyed readers can spot about 30 WW2 German infantry that I intend to have use as paratroops, along with about the same number of WW2 British Infantry riflemen to double up as Home Guards.

I feel some 1940 /41 ‘Sealion’ type Skirmish rifle platoon  scenarios coming up in future, joining my small number of Laing WW1 and WW2 figures that are so far painted and based.

A cluster of backwoodsmen and settlers in buckskins will double up as Confederates and Boers, useful from French Indian Wars through the war of Independence,  Civil War and beyond. Versatile figures! Likewise there are a small number of very useful Native Americans with bows and arrows.

A few more redcoats in slouch hats as Mounties for Skirmish and Imaginations Games. Some Union or Seventh Cavalry or more Mounties  on horseback to join my few finished ones

A few strips of redcoats in tricorne hats and grenadiers, along with a mixed handful of British Napoleonic era Infantry.

A mixed bag, some of whom have been waiting patiently on the painting table for a long time.

Getting my eye back in to painting 15mm after a long period on 40 to 54mm seems  a bit strange.

If you’re not sure what to do next, undercoat stuff. Wise words indeed …

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on a  rainy Saturday 23rd March 2019.

Donald Featherstone’s Birthday!

IMG_2632If the father of modern wargaming were still alive, Donald Featherstone would be 101 today – Happy  Birthday!

Last year I marked his centenary with several blogposts including:

I was delighted to discover this year, after reading recent articles in Miniature Wargames, that Don Featherstone’s collection of figures still exists – some colonials are in regular gaming use in the UK and the rest with his manuscripts and books can be seen in the collection of Daniel Borris in Canada. They can be visited by appointment. Daniel has filmed and photographed much of the collection to put them online on his website:


Toying with some eraser merchant ships I revisited Featherstone’s Naval War Games and noticed another interesting connection:

Celebrating some of the “old guard” of the hobby, one of the figure makers that Don admired and contributors to Don’s Naval War Games book – Jack Alexander –  is 90 years old and still actively modelling ships.


I always admired the Jacklex figures seen in Donald Featherstone’s books but had no idea where to buy them from in the 1980s, or if they were still made. His beautiful  Jacklex figures are still available from Spencer Smith Miniatures and so a few maybe added this year to complement my vintage Airfix figures, just as Jack intended in their size and design.


There is also a delightful blog about Jacklex, well worth reading and following.

Another excellent Featherstone related and still active blog is by Rod MacArthur, one of Don’s original 1960s young opponents in Southampton, His blog Rod’s Wargaming features some great Airfix conversions, some like the Zulus cast or aided by Don himself.

Happy Birthday Donald F. Featherstone! His simple book War Games (1962) is still one of my two Desert Island gaming books. I like the simplicity of his rules including his Close Wars appendix.

Still inspiring many gamers today!

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN on 20th March 2019.

Huzzah for Boycraft – Flower Show Craft Success!


I noticed the Land Army badge symbol of the harvested wheat sheaf is picked up in the Land Girl declining against the wheat sheaf on the right. Unplanned!

A success for boycraft at my local village spring flower show!

My 28mm Bad Squiddo Miniatures WW2 Land Girls received Third Prize in the Miscellaneous (Adult) Crafts.

I was quietly pleased as it is  the first time I’ve entered, having noticed a lack of male competitors in many sections last year.  My Land Girls had good stiff competition in their Miscellaneous Crafts Class 96 against serious traditional crafts like stained glass  and felt art / making.

The Land Girls in preparation …

I wasn’t sure how a military subject would go down in the craft section of a flower show, so chose something appropriate to the  horticultural theme and the local area. I’m sure the local Land Girls came in for dances in our Village Hall, which opened like many after the First World War.

I wasn’t sure how my shiny gloss toy soldier painting style would go down, whether people would expect something more ‘Matt’ and earthy.

The judges wrote on the entry slip “So detailed and a wonderful sentiment. Thank you for entering” as I had personalised it as a tribute to Land Girls who served and trained in the area I live in. That’s good enough for me  – one of the judges got what I was trying to do.

To create a context for the women at work, I added some simple brown  felt strips over coffee stirrers to be the rows for spuds (potatoes) being planted.

It has been overcast and stormy, not the best weekend of constant light  for photography, but I wanted to photograph the figures in case they didn’t survive the hustle and bustle of exhibition outside of a display case.


My favourite of the figures, the Land Girl watching the sky for rain clouds or airplanes.

A previous blog post shows the Land Girls in preparation:

Annie Norman’s Bad Squiddo range of WW2 and fantasy females can be seen at!/Bad-Squiddo-Miniatures/c/20887901/offset=0&sort=addedTimeDesc

I’m already thinking about what to enter next year … maybe I will enter some quirky Prince August based 54mm home cast traditional toy soldiers?  Speaking of Prince August moulds and figures – Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Who knows my ‘Land Girls’ might flush out into the open a few more male crafters for next year? This would be great but also more competition.

Thanks to Marvin at Suburban  Militarism blog for his encouragement to enter this  mancraft into the flower show.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on  17 March 2019.

Postmodern Paintbox



Crossposted from my Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog

What links these two pictures? 

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 15 March 2019



The General’s Fast Asleep


A new addition to my toy soldier collection – this charming  1935 sheet music cover and lyrics are pure H.G. Wells’ Little Wars and RLS’s Child’s Garden of Verses.

The General’s Fast Asleep – Military Foxtrot

First verse:

Right across the nurs’ry floor,

Gallant soldiers dress’d  for war,

Drummer boys and buglers grand,

wait-ing the word of command,

Spick and span they stand,

But ne-ver a word of Com-mand

However most  recorded versions of the song usually start here at this point:

You won’t see any big parade
There won’t be any bugle played
Sad to say no war to-day
‘Cause the General’s fast asleep
Soldiers bold in a mighty row
They’ve been told they’re to fight the foe
Sad to say no war today
‘Cause the General’s fast asleep
The Colonel’s mad, and the Major blue
The Captain’s sad and the Sergeant too
Guess this war will have to keep
It’s enough to make an army weep
Look oh look at the curly head
Time to take him away to bed
Sad to say no war today
‘Cause the General’s fast asleep
Gee – It seems an awful shame
That his victory won’t go down to fame
Sandman’s here to dim the light
Little General, good night.
Other additional  lyrics / verses
All the gunners wear a frown,
Half the tanks are upside down,
while the horses say “neigh neigh”,
There’ll be no battle today
Air Force must not fly,
They know there’s a good reason why,
‘cos the Generals fast asleep.
Songwriters: Michael Carr / Jimmy Kennedy (1935)
The Peter Maurice Music Co. Ltd.
The General’s Fast Asleep lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC.
Ear Worm Alert – listen to these recording and this jaunty Military foxtrot will be in your head for days. You have been warned!
You can hear  Vera Lynn singing this 1935 jaunty song, some say it’s her first recording, singing with Jay Wilbur and the Rhythm Rascals on Crown Records 51
Gracie Fields recorded this for Rex records. Elsie Carlisle recorded this for Decca in 1935
George Brassens sings the French version on Ukelele or Guitar, called Le General Dort Debout
Sadly there seems to be no George Formby Ukelele recording!
The song even features  in French and Italian on an anti war song website with a variation on this sheet music cover – French and German lyrics given too on this website:
IL GENERALE DORME IN PIEDI is also the title of a comic 1960s Italian movie.


There is a jolly military  band feel to this Ray Ventura French language version 1935/6


Fast pace German dance orchestra version 1936 by German jazz / dance band leader Heinz Werner (1908- died / missing on Wermacht service  1945) but sung in English

Henry Hall and the BBC Dance Orchestra 1930s (with Henry singing the vocals?)
Ambrose recorded this with Evelyn Dall on vocals,

as did Joe Loss and his Orchestra

Note the Ukelele settings

The art work (by Muf?) shows some attractive little redcoats and their (almost spacey) artillery

It’s those round toy soldier bases again …
Shhhh. Don’t wake him! The sleeping General with his genuine 1930s dated Newspaper bicorne hat. Lovely bit of collage.

I shall probably frame and hang this music sheet above my gaming and painting table. All for the love of toy soldiers …

I wonder if the 1935 song title comes in any way from an 1855 Crimean era Punch cartoon by John Leech  “The  General  Fast (Asleep). Humiliating – Very ”

based on Victorian and ACW era National Days of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer

The French lyric version appears slightly different, translated and rewritten to keep the right rhythm?


Sur le plancher du salon,
Sont rangés les soldats de plomb.
Fantassins et artilleurs,
Des cavaliers, des sapeurs
Vont jouer leur destin.
Pourtant, aucun ordre ne vient.

Rantanplan, pas de grande parade !
Fermez le ban, pas de mousquetade !
Tout le monde au garde-à-vous !
Mais le général dort debout.

Les soldats étaient pourtant prêts,
On avait dit qu’ils se battraient,
Mais il faut qu’ils soient dissous
Car le général dort debout.

Les officiers ne sont pas contents.
Du colonel au sous-lieutenant,
Ils transmettent ce commandement :
“Baboum badaboum, rompez les rangs !”

Regardez sa tête se pencher,
Il faut l’emmener se coucher
Ce tantôt, pas de héros,
Car le général fait dodo.

Devant ce grand désarroi,
Tout va vite de guingois.
Quatre tanks sont renversés ;
Tous les avions sont écroulés ;
D’un geste du pied,
Leur chef les a tous balayés.

Rantanplan, pas de grande parade !
Fermez le ban, pas de mousquetade !
Tout le monde au garde-à-vous !
Mais le général dort debout.

Les soldats étaient pourtant prêts,
On avait dit qu’ils se battraient,
Mais il faut qu’ils soient dissous
Car le général dort debout.

Les officiers ne sont pas contents.
Du colonel au sous-lieutenant,
Ils transmettent ce commandement :
“Baboum badaboum, rompez les rangs !”

Regardez sa tête se pencher,
Il faut l’emmener se coucher
Ce tantôt, pas de héros,
Car le général fait dodo.

Le marchand de sable vient
Apportant le sommeil en ses mains.
Dormez bien, la lune luit.
Général, bonne nuit !

French Translation Contributed by Marco Valdo M.I. 2015/2/23 – 20:34

Strangely, “fait dodo” is French baby talk for going to sleep, like the sleepy, slow or stupid (thus rapidly  extinct) Dodo.

General Dort Debout and General Fait Dodo would be good French General Imagi-Nations names. Likewise   Generale  Dorme In Piedi for an Italian General.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN / Homme de Plomb, 14 March 2019.

Huzzah for the Wooden Cavalry!

A charming birthday gift last year, an arrival from Etsy.


Herald 54mm guardsman for scale  comparison


These beautifully packed little redcoat guards cavalry arrived as a birthday gift last year.

Much smaller in size but similar in style, they are an interesting comparison with the Guards ‘gun crew’ (from yesterday’s blog post) that arrived at Christmas

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 11 March 2019.




Wooden Soldiers and Toy Cannons

A stylish gun crew … great little moustaches

These stylish guardsman arrived at Christmas in the company of this simple cannon. The cannon is wooden but with attractively simple metal wheels.

They are handmade, possibly using a lathe in places but also curiously and crudely carved on the body.

They look almost well padded or as a comedian like Max Miller would say “like a roll top desk, all front.” Very odd.

As usual, these wooden figures have quite fragile arms and rifles. Not something to repair – Sign of their veteran play worn status.

Tucked in with the package from the Etsy vintage trader was a little threebie or  freebie in the form of these vintage matching puzzles of jobs and uniforms in bright 1960s / 70s colours.


Showing the purple pull knob and wire arrangement.

The round little disk base can be seen on illustrations of toy soldiers featured here recently in this poem:


And this sheet music parade of toy soldiers shows this simple base.

Illustrator Stephen Cartwright’s toy soldiers
From an Edwardian scrapbook in my collection
Wikipedia source.